Grandparents and Halloween Traditions


Callister is my favorite trick or treater! What he lacks in spooky he makes up in cuteness!

Here I go again talking about traditions. I’m sorry, it’s like I can’t help myself; I love traditions, and having a grandchild has only increased the fervor of that passion. Tradition is part of the glue that binds us together and establishes who we are as a family, the threads that run together to create a tapestry of memories. As a grandparent I get to create new traditions, but I also get relive old times, playing the role my parents played with my children.

I was lucky to have my parents just a few miles away when my kids were growing up. Since I was a single mom for ten years, having my parents join us for events like pumpkin carving, Easter egg dyeing and fireworks added to the sense of family. Halloween was an especially big deal in our neighborhood, beginning with a fire truck-led parade the Sunday before Halloween and a carnival complete with a spooky house put together by the teenagers in the neighborhood. Every Halloween afternoon my parents would come over and we’d make a big pot of chili, and they would man the door to pass out candy while my kids and I went trick or treating. Many years we would have well over one hundred kids come to the door, so it was a fun and busy night. When the lights started turning off, a signal trick or treating was over, we’d go back to our house and pour the candy on the floor for the grandparents to admire and swipe a few pieces. Halloween was always one of my daughters’ favorite evenings of the year, and I know sharing it with their grandparents was a big part of it.

a child and grandparent examine a pumpkin. for article on halloween traditions

My dad and oldest daughter getting ready to carve a pumpkin, 30 years ago!

As is wont to happen, I blinked my eyes and thirty years evaporated. Spooky as it might seem, now I’m the grandparent and my daughter is the parent. It’s almost surreal how that happens; sometimes I almost forget I’m sixty years old and I’m the grandparent, NOT the parent.

I got a bit of a reality check at the church fall festival this past Sunday when I had the brilliant (?) idea to recreate a duo costume I had with my daughter 27 years ago. She was three at the time, but since my grandson is extremely tall, he’s wearing her hand-me-down Disney dalmatian outfit at sixteen months. At the time I cringed paying the expensive price, but it’s held up amazingly well. I wish I could say the same for Cruella. The white hair on one side was most definitely easier to pull off and the rest of the outfit seemed to come together, but seeing the pictures woke me up to a harsh ego check. Unlike Lady Gaga, I am not capable of shapeshifting, and my Cruella 27 years later is a much chubbier and wrinkled Cruella. I might pass as Cruella’s mom, but my Cruella ship has sailed.

diane morrow kondos as cruella, a child as a dalmation and one in another costume, and someone dressed as batman

27 years ago!

diane morrow kondos dressed as cruella holding callister as a dalmation, one of their halloween traditions

Cruella/dalmatian retake, not a success but we had fun!

I may not be the young, thin Cruella anymore, but the tradeoff is a good one; I’m honestly thrilled to be taking over the role my parents once played. My daughter and her family live in a neighborhood similar to where I raised my kids, very family oriented with big crowds of kids. My husband and I will go over tonight and help get our grandson get dressed up, and then we’ll open the door to trick or treaters, ooh and aah over their costumes and dole out the candy. When Callister gets home from his first trick or treating experience, we’ll excitedly go through his bag as we hear about his adventures and maybe even steal a few pieces.

I’m anticipating a few bittersweet moments of remembering my parents, wishing they were still here but happy we had them for so long and created many great memories with them. It’s the circle of life and it’s a privilege to continue with traditions set before us. Tradition is a big part of what gives us our family identity, and I guess I’m not really sorry for talking about it again, I love it all! Happy Halloween!


The year we all dressed up as characters from Aladdin!

Categories: Grand Life